Five Songs, 9/23/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 9/23/2023

Mort Garson, "Baroque No. 2"

Mort Garson is a synthesizer pioneer, one of the first people to record music with a Moog. Sacred Bones has been reissuing his work, both his records and various rarities from his estate's archive. This is one of the latter, Music From Patch Cord Productions, and it's just lovely stuff.

Basement Jaxx, "Cish Cash"

Talk about missing the boat. Basement Jaxx is best known for their debut album, Remedy, which was huge. I did not get it, nor their follow-up. But they put Siouxsie Sioux on this record (on this song, in fact), so sure, let's give it a try. Sure, let's not get the big record. Anyway, it's fine. Not really my jam. Hard to really say anything bad about something this cheerful and energetic, though.

Einstürzende Neubauten, "Steh auf Berlin"

Ever wonder why industrial is called industrial? Well, this is why. Kollaps can't really be said to set the template for industrial, because mostly bands didn't follow in its footsteps. But it remains the purest, most platonic expression of the idea of industrial music to date. Even later Neubauten records wouldn't get back to this level of abrasiveness and, well, industrialness. A treasure.

The Decemberists, "Of Angels and Angles"

The first several Decemberists were kind of built around an anchoring show-stopper at the tail end of the record. Castaways and Cutouts had "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" closing things out. They changed the formula slightly with Her Majesty The Decemberists, where the finale had a comedown piece after it, with "As I Rise" closing out the album after the climax of "I Was Meant For The Stage". That denouement added just that much more emotional heft to things. They went for the same move on Picaresque, with this tune providing the ending after "The Mariner's Revenge Song". The formula really does work, structuring the albums in a way that feels just that much more cinematic.

Shining, "Omen"

Shining's Blackjazz asks the question of "what would happen if you threw some free jazz into manic industrial metal" and the answer turns out to be "it would be fuckin' great". There's a certain truism in music that sufficient enthusiasm will cover for a lot of sins, and that's definitely true here. Not that there are very many sins to cover for, mind you. It's a charming album, if something that sounds this way can be described as charming.

Joshua Buergel
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